As most of us are now staying in our homes as much as possible, we need to find new ways to check in with one another for our physical and mental wellbeing.
Here at Eden Project Communities we prefer 'physical distancing' to 'social distancing' - connection is incredibly important for all ages, and there are still lots of ways we can connect with others, without putting them or ourselves at risk.
Lots of people have set up local groups to keep neighbours connected, from street level What's App groups to larger town or district wide groups using online platforms. Small, hyper local groups - a street, group of flats or small neighbourhood - help to create trusted connections more quickly. This is especially important for older or vulnerable people who may not be able or willing to ask for help online in a big group.
If you can, post a card through neighbours' doors offering help - from picking up food shopping to dog walking, this is a great way to reach out to your neighbours.
Here's a neighbourhood card you can use, or you can create your own. Please ensure you have washed your hands and keep a safe distance from any neighbours you are supporting.
Check out Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK for a map of neighbourly groups across the UK. See if there is already one set up near you, your local council might also have a list of what's happening in your area. If there isn't a group you could set up your own, there are lots of top tips and resources to help you. Nextdoor have launched a new feature to help neighbours flag when they need help, and you can also join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme too connect with your neighbours or sign up on www.ourwatch.org.uk to receive messages on crime prevention advice and community support. Want to connect to others who are active in their communities? The Eden Project Communities Network is a place for like-minded people to connect, share, learn and support.
Nextdoor have launched a new feature to help neighbours flag when they need help, and you can also join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme too connect with your neighbours or sign up on www.ourwatch.org.uk to receive messages on crime prevention advice and community support.
Want to connect to others who are active in their communities? The Eden Project Communities Network is a place for like-minded people to connect, share, learn and support.Be a positive part of your local community conversations and activities.
Use technology and digital platforms to stay connected. Whilst it might not be quite the same as seeing friends in person, you don’t need to miss catching up and having fun, digital platforms offer pretty close alternatives for now.
Exercise your brain cells with Gooses Quizzes - Free online quiz each night 7pm - Video chatting app with games.
Set up a film night or Netflix Party - watch the same thing at the same time with friends or family.
Most of our routines have turned upside down; no school, working from home or limited time with friends and loved ones. It means we need to be proactive to stay in touch with one another as we don’t find ourselves naturally mingling with neighbours, friends and colleagues.
Although most people are staying at home, not everyone will be online. Particularly with the constant stream of news and social media posts, some people may choose to use this time to unplug and connect with people (near and far) in more creative ways. Here are some ideas...
Government advice is changing all of the time, please only do what is safe to do.
Try these positive writing, drawing and colouring templates for children from our partner, The Happy News to spread a little joy.
Create positive artwork for neighbours and passers by still going to work or to get food. Place rainbows or posters in your windows or spread joy through pavement chalk drawings. Positive words or a fun picture might just brighten someone's day and give them the little boost they need at this difficult time. Let your creative side out (or there's a rainbow template below if that makes it easier!)
We're going on a bear hunt - ask your neighbours to put a teddy bear in their front windows or somewhere they can be seen from the road. Those out for and about can spot teddies as they go. You can also try with decorated eggs for a spin on an Easter egg hunt!
Pick up the phone - particularly if people aren’t online. It’s a simple way to check-in and have a conversation. A short phone call can really brighten someone’s day, especially if they live alone or are vulnerable. Try setting up a phone tree for neighbours, friends or family to stay connected, we've created a template to make it easy.